Probiotics May Improve Mental Function in Dementia Patients
Several studies suggest that synbiotics (probiotics and prebiotics) may decelerate the advancement of certain neurodegenerative disorders. Nevertheless, there is insufficient data on the impact of probiotics and prebiotics in people with Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment. A new study conducted by researchers at Jiangnan University indicates that probiotics taken at the early onset of Alzheimer’s could strengthen the mental capabilities and postpone the advancement of the disorder.
If the probiotics are taken in appropriate quantities, they can improve one’s health. The researchers analyzed data from 294 studies dating from 1984 to 2021 that included Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment individuals. The main outcome from the studies was mental function, which was assessed by MMSE scoring. The additional outcomes involved dietary condition, biomarkers for swelling, and the excess of free radicals in the body’s cells.
The research team discovered that although probiotic supplementation enhanced mental performance in patients with mild cognitive impairment, the findings were not remarkable for patients who had Alzheimer’s. It was concluded that probiotic supplements significantly enhanced mental performance in patients with MCI but had a minor impact on the mental enhancement in Alzheimer’s patients. The level of improvement depends on the probiotic dosage and the duration of the therapy.
However, this study has several limitations. The first one is the small sampling size. In addition to that, the studies did not take into account the impact of nutritional supplementation and daily routines that may have affected the gut microbiota. Also, these studies did not involve the same rating scales for assessing mental performance. Some of them did not record the negative impact of probiotic supplements, given that older patients are more prone to severe unwanted gastrointestinal and systemic effects.
The research team believes that further studies will focus on the side effects of probiotic supplementation. Apart from that, there is a need for clinical trials that will assess individuals who have Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment and divide them into groups based on the seriousness of the disorder. Overall, this study does not demonstrate that probiotics will improve patients’ health with mild cognitive impairment.
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